Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Reads--Variant

Don't forget to enter my holiday giveaway on the post below. You have two more days to leave a comment to win one of three prizes!

So last night I finished Variant by Robison Wells.

Such a great book. I highly recommend it. It was fast paced (which I love) and intriguing and kept me curious and guessing the entire book. I loved the twist and the characters and really just everything about it. Except the cliff hanger ending, Mr. Wells, you are very cruel. So of course now I'm dying to read the second one. Does anyone know when it comes out?

Amazon blurb:

"Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible."

Sounds awesome, right?? It is.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Giveaway

So I'm in the mood to give something away. There are many reasons. One, did you hear about my friend, Renee, and her awesome news? If not, go check out her blog. Very inspiring.

Also, I've reached a few milestones. They seem silly but they make me happy.

*I finally hit 300 followers on my blog.

*I reached 800 followers on twitter.

*And 100 people I don't know personally, put me on their to-be-read list on Goodreads. (Thanks, everyone, it really means a lot to me)

In honor of all the support you guys are showing me, I'd love to give you something. I'd really love to give you all something, but that's impossible, so I'll pick two winners. The prizes. Your pick of one of the following:

1. A book. Any book. Your choice. I'd be happy if it were a Young Adult book and preferably a debut author, but I'll let you pick. Or I can send you my favorite book of 2011--Divergent by Veronica Roth (I should say, one of my favorites. There were so many good books in 2011.)

2. A partial critique of your manuscript. Up to 50 pages. Again, I feel most qualified to critique a Young Adult manuscript, but if you aren't a Young Adult writer and would like me to try my hand at something else, I won't turn you away. (If you win)

3. A query critique.

So that is my Thank You! offerings. Oh, rules. entry for a comment, one entry for a tweet, and one entry if you blog about it (Please tell me how many entries you earned in the comments section). Contest ends next Friday, December 30th, at midnight.

****Contest Closed. Will announce winners Monday, January 2nd****

Monday, December 19, 2011

New York, New York

So this last week I tagged along with my husband on his work trip to New York. It was so much fun! Best trip ever! But I'm an idiot and didn't take a single picture. So I will try to recap my trip borrowing other people's pictures so you can get the idea.

We arrived Tuesday night and started our time in New York with a slice of pizza. Yum.

(See how happy my husband and I are eating pizza. Doesn't it look delicious?)

Wednesday my husband had meetings so I braved the city alone and did a little shopping. It truly was pure bravery. I had to face stores like Abercrombie where they made their store employees parade around the front door like this:

I mean, come on, if you think stunts like this are going to bring in shoppers, Abercrombie, come the store in my home town doesn't do this? Maybe I should let them know what their New York counterpart is doing. I mean, purely in an effort to make them more consistent.

Wednesday night we had more pizza right before we saw this guy:

(Isn't my boyfriend so handsome?)

Sigh. I'm not going to lie, we shared several magical moments where I'm almost a hundred percent certain he was looking at me. Hugh Jackman put on such a great show. He was funny, witty, handsome. Seriously, what more could you want? The eighty year old women surrounding me agreed.

Thursday, I walked around in these shoes for 9+ hours (and this is the actual picture because I took it just now) and my feet fell off.

But before my feet fell off, we went to a taping of David Letterman and got to sit in the front row because apparently they thought we were loud and full of energy in our "interview" before the taping. They don't have me pinned at all. It was so cool. Jude Law was the guest. He pretty much looked exactly like the picture below. With the hat and everything.

That night we went out with my agent who rocked some cute and very high heels to try to close the distance between our height. She looked hot. :)

(So this picture is from our last meeting. Imagine us both looking even better! I know, it's hard to believe, but that's the kind of luxury taking no pictures affords us. We can remember things how we want to remember them.)

Friday I got to see both my agent and editor together over lunch. Having two of my favorite people in the same place doing one of my favorite things (eating) was awesome!

(That's me on the left [obviously]. :) Sarah, did you know this is the only picture of you in the entire webiverse? I mean, if that were me, I'd probably want this to be the only picture in existence of me, but now I have even more regret that we didn't take a picture. Because your super cute self needs some more web time and the world needed to see that awesome shirt you wore to lunch that I wanted to steal.)

My amazing editor brought me a sneak peek of my book cover!!!!!!!! I almost died. I can't wait to get the final version and show all of you. I love it so much.

So, as you can see through my picture extravaganza, I had the best trip ever to New York. How are you all spending your holidays??

Monday, December 12, 2011

Self Identification

My 4 year old son is really into drawing monsters. Like really into it. Every time he sits down to draw, he draws a monster. When he's at school, he draws monsters, at church, monsters. I have so many monster pictures in this house, it's crazy. Okay, now I feel the need to upload some so you can see their awesomeness.

This is one of our favorites. Note the smiling man in the monster's stomach. He's so happy to have just been eaten.

So, Friday when I went to pick my son up from school, a bunch of the kids were showing their parents what they had drawn that day. Apparently they were learning about self identity--what they looked like as babies and what they look like now. A little girl, showing her mom her picture, said, "This is when I was a baby and this is me now!" Her mom, so proud of the cute big heads with legs attached said, "Good job, honey."

My son, ready for some praise of his own, held up his picture. "Mom, this is me as a baby." I looked at the picture of a small circle with four sticks attached where the arms and legs should be and a big smile on the cute baby's face. Then he continued. "And this is me as a monster!!"

So much for self identification.
(I can't for the life of me figure out how to rotate this pic in blogger. I rotated it in my photo program but now, this. Whatever. You get it. It's a monster. It's scaring a poor little stick guy.)

This is how I feel sometimes when I'm writing. I think I know where my main character is headed, who she is, how she would deal with certain situations. And then she screams: "And this is me as a monster!!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Sale

If you've been thinking about reading any of these lovely books

by the amazing Michelle Davidson Argyle (and if you haven't, why not? They are great) now's the time to do it! For the month of December the ebook versions are on sale for $0.99. Click here for more info.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Never Listen to Your Brain

So about three months ago I started working out. Yes, applause would be appropriate here. Mostly for the fact that it has been three months and I am *still* working out. But anyway, I'm getting side tracked by how proud we should all be of me. Back to the working out thing. Every time I was at the gym, on my way to the bikes I would see this class through the big windows of the...class room...??....what would you call that room? And every time I saw these super fit people doing these super hard things, I thought to myself, No thank you, not a fan of self-torture (you probably sense where this is headed).

Well one day I ran into a friend who I hadn't seen in years as we were walking up to the front doors of the gym. We got to talking and then she was like, "You should take this class with me in the class room (Ha. She didn't really say the class room part)" And I was like, "No thank you, ma'am. I've seen y'all in there and it looks awful." She laughed and we parted ways and I jumped onto the tread mill. And then my brain took over (unasked for, I might add) and was like, "You've been working out for 3 months now, Kasie. You should totally challenge yourself. You can handle it." I sighed at my brain for being so nosy and so unhelpful and walked over to the line (yes, there was a line) waiting for the previous class to get out.

My friend smiled and said, "You changed your mind?" And I said, "I don't know. I need to be talked into it." She laughed and said, "Okay, so you may cry a little. And tomorrow you won't be able to lower yourself to the toilet. But it's a great class!" My mouth fell open. "I said talked into it! Not out of it." That's when the lady in front of us turned around and she said, "If I can do it, you can do it."

Now, if this had been anyone else in the class, it wouldn't have swayed me. The entire class looks like they could be on the cover of We Are Super Fit and You Should Be Extremely Jealous Magazine. But this lady was at least 30 years my senior. Granted, she, too, could be on the cover of that magazine, but still. My brain said, "Seriously, Kasie? If she can do it, you can too."

So I did it. It was very hard. Line Lady could totally do it. I could totally not. I ended the class on my back staring at the ceiling, wondering if this was what slow death felt like. This was the first class. I've been going for about a month now. One week I looked ahead of me and was like, oh look, that girl is doing just as bad as I am. Substituting the hard moves for the modified ones and everything. I felt a little better. Later, she turned around......she was seven months pregnant.

Lesson? When going to the gym, avoid eye contact. If you see friends pretend you don't know them. And never listen to your brain. (At least not when you're at the gym.) That is my maddeningly unhelpful advice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Pop Quiz

Why is Kasie such a lazy blogger? (Very good question)

A. She doesn't think she has anything worth posting.

B. She can't do more than two productive things a day and ever since she started working out, her quota on productivity has been met.

C. She has been traveling a lot.

D. She has been writing a lot and all her creativity has been stolen and used up in her book.

E. She has been editing a lot and when she is editing she is extra critical of herself and thinks all the blog post ideas she comes up with are stupid.

F. All of the above.

Yes, the answer is F. And I get an F for this blog lately too. But, I am hoping to remedy this. As mentioned in B, I started working out and boy do I have some funny stories of me in some 'way too hard for my wimpy body' classes that I must share. Because we all like reading anecdotes of me making a fool of myself, right? Yes. We do. Plus, I've been reading a lot, so I have more reviews to share. Yay, this has been a blog post about how I'm going to have future blog posts! So satisfying.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wishing I could read Wednesday

My TBR pile is growing taller as my beta reading inbox is filling up. I have so many books I want to read right now sitting there waiting for me. Lola, Variant, Hourglass, just to name a few. I'm staring at them with dreamy eyes right now, in fact, while typing this. Yes, I'm typing and staring. Isn't the cover of Hourglass amazing. Probably one of my favorite covers ever.

Anyway, I'm not complaining (much) because I am so lucky to get to read some amazing manuscripts and give suggestions while suggestions are still being taken. It's not quite as satisfying to have suggestions for already published books. :) I suppose that's what book clubs are for. Someone at church invited me to book club. I told her, that I would be a tyrant at a book club. I have too many opinions and want everyone to agree with them. She seemed to be willing to take that risk as she handed me the book and told me she'd see me there. She also promised there would be dinner which went a long way in overriding my fear of being too opinionated. So, I will report next month about how many enemies I made at book club. In the mean time I will practice biting my tongue. The funny thing is that I actually like most books so I don't know why I'm so worried. Maybe I'm worried I'll have to defend authors everywhere? Well, either way, I guess I'm going. My first adult book club ever. (I say 'adult' because I've had a few book clubs at my house with teens--those were fun.)

In other news, my agent started blogging! You should go check out her blog here. She's so fun and you'll get to see why I love her so much. Very entertaining.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I love Russia

Things I know about Russia:

It's very big.

It's very cold.

It's very beautiful.

Anna Kournikova is from there.

It is where Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV had to fight that really big Russian guy. The best Rocky fight ever.


My book will be available there within 18 months!

Things I want to know about Russia:

Everything else!

So help me out. What do you know about Russia?

When I started this journey to publication, my dream was to see my book in print. I never even thought to dream of seeing my book printed in other languages. So when my agent told me that a Russian publisher--AST--made an early offer, I was surprised. I always knew selling in other countries was a possibility, I just thought it would happen later or to someone else. I am so excited!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Reads

So someone recommended this lovely book recently (and I can't remember who, I thought it was Jessie, but I can't find the comment where someone said I should read it so I might be falsely giving Jessie credit, but whoever recommended it thank you):

I LOVED it! Adored it. That's really all I was going to say about it, along with including a blurb, but when I was looking for the book cover to include in this post I found out that this book is being turned into a movie! I'm sure all of you knew that and I'm seriously late to the Austenland is being turned into a movie party (there has to be a party like that somewhere). But, I am so EXCITED!!

So here's the blurb and read the book. Oh, this isn't a young adult book. I know I normally review YA on my blog so I always feel the need to include the fact if it's not YA. But, in the cleanliness department, I would have no problem handing this book to my 13 year old to read. Would she read it? No, because she'd realize the main character was 32 the minute she read the first page, raise her eyebrows at me (which, by the way, my daughter has amazingly perfect eyebrows that my non-existent eyebrows are so jealous of) and hand it back to me with a 'Ew, no.' Okay, I'm rambling. Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

"Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Reads

Super fun read. If you want a light-hearted, funny, and slightly gross zombie story, you'll love this one. I laughed and cringed and couldn't wait to find out how Kate figured out how to cure the football team of the zombie virus.

Blurb from amazon: "Someone's been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human."

Friday, October 7, 2011

That's gross

For those of you who have been around my blog for a while, you'll remember I used to tell stories about the gross things my son did. After three daughters my son never fails to disappoint in giving me the true experience of having a boy. But today, I have a story on a little girl in my life. My three year old niece who I've decided must hate me. It's the only explanation. She is potty trained. Has been for at least six months now (maybe a year). But every time I watch her at my house, she has an "accident". I have accident in quotes because I'm starting to wonder if it really is an accident or a carefully planned plot to get back at me for some unknown past offense.

So I was watching her and her siblings Wednesday and for the second time in as many hours my niece had an "accident". My daughter called for me to come take care of it and I found the Mastermind standing in the kitchen in her jacket and rain boots (she had just come in from playing outside, which btw, it would've been so much nicer if she had her "accident" outside, but she didn't) looking all sweet and innocent. Seriously, she had a little coy smile on her face. I retrieved a towel, spread it out on the mess, and told her to sit down. I grabbed hold of one of her froggy rain boots and pulled. I'm not kidding when I say a waterfall of urine came rushing out, all over my bare feet. The rain boots had caught the "accident". So. Gross.

Seriously, this little girl is some sort of evil genius, right?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Reads

So one thing I love about being a writer is that I know lots of other writers. And because I know lots of other writers I get to read lots of cool books. And while I'm reading them, I get to think things like, 'I actually *know* this person.' It's kind of weird being a fan-girl with my friends but I so am.

I loved MONARCH! It had all the things I love about an action/thriller plus a love story (which is always what I think is missing from an action/thriller). The pictures that Michelle paints with her descriptions are gorgeous. Her characters are flawed to perfection. I just all around loved this book. (Disclaimer: I know I usually review Young Adult books on my blog, so heads up, this is not a Young Adult book.)

Goodreads blurb: "Nick's life as a CIA spy should be fulfilling, but it has only given him unhappiness, a wife who committed suicide, and two daughters who resent everything he has become. Now, stuck in the Amazon on the last mission of his career, he must track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the United States has tried to bring down for years. If he succeeds, he'll have the chance to start his life over again. Just when he's on the brink of catching Ferreira, he's framed for a murder that turns his world upside down. His only chance of survival lies in West Virginia, where Lilian Love, a woman from his past, owns the secluded Monarch Inn. He's safe, but not for long."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

OH, I have to write, to write

Sometimes I'll think I forgot how write. I'll go a month or two and only write a hundred words here or a hundred there. And I'll think OH NO, it's happened, I forgot how to write a book. I'm doomed. Then last week I visited Ruth's and Chantele's blog where they both talked about setting goals and I was like, fine Universe, I hear you, I need to set a goal. And then I wrote 10K this week. I guess if I want to write a book I actually have to sit down and write. Go figure. So I didn't forget how to write, I just forgot how to force myself to write. I blame twitter. Can you twitter people just stop being so interesting so that I don't feel the need to read your tweets all the time. That would really help me a lot.

In other news, I finished my first round of edits! So happy. I'm always amazed at what a different perspective can pick up on. Every time someone (whether that be a beta or my agent or an editor) reads my book they pick up on something I hadn't. It just goes to show that we can never objectively read our own books. I'm so grateful for the many different people that have helped me shape my book.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Linkin' it up

Just a couple links for you for the weekend. My good friend, Renee Collins, is having a great contest over on her blog for a chance to win a query critique from one of two agents! So if you're in the querying stage, head on over there because there's nothing better than an agent telling you how to make your query even better.

Click here to enter.

Also, last week Elana Johnson did a blog post about maximizing your online networking. I loved the post. And since Elana is pretty much the queen of social networking, I thought I should listen. Her tips were great.

Click here to check them out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Reads

So I started reading this book yesterday:

IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU by Jenny Han. Love it so far! Really good. Have I mentioned I love contemporary?

Anyway, I'm half way through the book and I was on Goodreads today and saw that after the title of this book it said, "Book 2" and I was like, "What??" I hadn't realized it was the second book in a series. So then I read the summary of book one. Jenny Han did an amazing job of seamlessly filling in the back story of book one into this book. I have not felt like I've missed a thing. I am very impressed.

So, like I said, I'm only half way done, but barring any horrible plot fouls, I'm going to say that I recommend this book. Here is the summary (warning, spoiler for book 1-THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY):

"It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started—at Cousins Beach."

Okay, now that I've read the summary, the only thing she hasn't explain is why they call her "Belly". Was that in book one? I'm guessing it would've had to have been with such a weird nickname.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DingDong's Fate

Did I leave you guys in duck limbo or what? I'm so sorry. I hadn't intended to do that but we ended up going out of town for labor day weekend and I didn't think to schedule a post before I left. Don't worry, I have been properly chastised by two different people and I feel much horrible shame and regret.

So, back to Ding Dong (our pet duck). If you remember from last time, he had escaped in the car and was now about to be introduced to a new pond with new fowl to contend with--geese (and we all know how mean geese can be). When I carried him to the pond, the geese were nowhere in sight. This is good, I thought, he can get used to the place before having to fight for his life. My friend kept assuring me that the geese were nice, but that's what I thought about the ducks on the corner, as well, until they tried to peck my duck to an early death. My 4 year old son (having been much traumatized by the event) kept reminding me of this fact on the way to the new pond. But, I felt the need to try it anyway. I know it sounds ridiculous, and maybe makes me seem like a weirdo, but I really wanted our crazy little duck to be happy. I hoped that maybe, since the pond was so big that they would all just leave each other alone.

This was his first thought about the whole scenario:

So he wouldn't get in, but I was hopeful that if left be for a while, everything would go well. So I took my crying son (crying because even though I had told him we were going to leave the duck, it didn't register until we actually had to *leave* the duck) and we shut the duck into the gated pond area. He followed us, quacking at the gate and looking at me with those sad duck eyes (what? you've never heard of sad duck eyes? Well, they're awful. They involve a tilting head and a few mournful quacks). We talked with my friend for a while and calmed my son down then got in the car. As we drove away, Ding Dong followed our van all the way along the fence line, quacking and flapping his wings. I felt terrible, not to mention scared for when the geese showed up. Yes, this all sounds so dramatic.

Anyway, not two hours later my friend texted me with a video of Ding Dong in the water. I was so happy. One obstacle down. Then an hour after that, she sent me this text: "Now he is hanging with the geese. He is happy with them and they like him. :) Yay, all is well for Ding Dong!!" I asked her if she saw who approached who and how it went down and she said, "No we don't know. All of the sudden the three of them were cruising around together. And he has been dipping down for fish (whatever that is called)."

Our duck was living in the "wild" with new friends. Wow, I feel like such a sap, but these texts made me soooo happy. It went better than expected. Now, the only problem? What am I going to blog about? Suggestions, anyone?? :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Lake of Misfit Fowl

It was time to say goodbye to Ding Dong (our pet duck). He had decided that our side yard was *his* side yard and took to making sure we all knew it. Mostly I think he was bored and needed to work off extra energy. (Much like a two year old who needs to throw a tantrum every day at four so that he'll sleep good that night.) Every time we would walk out the side door he would peck our toes and chase us. Now, I found this amusing when he just did it to the children (I know, I'm a mean mother) but when my neighbor showed up at my front door out of breath from having run from the attack duck, I knew we had to find a new, more suitable home for the duck.

It just so happens that a good friend of mine recently moved to a house that has a 2 acre, fenced in lake. It's pretty awesome. When I saw it and its two resident geese, I knew it was the place. I just hoped the geese wouldn't feel threatened (like the last set of ducks we tried to introduce him to) and let him into their club. After all, these geese are a little odd. One has a horn like protrusion on his head and the other has crazy, messed up wings. I thought my little orphaned duck would fit in with these other misfits. My friend's lake should be called: The Lake of Misfit Fowl.

So after catching the duck (I believe he sensed he was being banished because he would not let me catch him and my neighbor, seeing me through her window, looking like a fool, came over and helped me corner him. It was quite ridiculous, I'm sure, to watch two grown women chasing a duck) it went into a box and into the car. My four year old son was in charge of holding the box closed. Side note: Never put a four year old in charge of something that can actually effect the safety of the driver. Half way to our destination, the duck knocked over the box and flapped his way out. I screamed, my son laughed, and the duck spent the next ten minutes exploring the car, ending up at my elbow, drinking the water I had brought for myself out of the cup in the center console.

We made it without an accident though. Well, not a traffic accident. The duck had no problem using the floor of my van as a bathroom. I had never been so happy that my kids throw all their old school papers on the floor of the van, creating a nice paper barrier. (See, another incident of reinforcing my lack-of-cleaning behavior.)

This post is getting long. I will tell you the conclusion of the story on Monday. Does Ding Dong make it on Misfit Island...I mean, Misfit Lake? Or, like before, did I have to rescue him from murderous fowl and bring him back to terrorize our side yard? I know, it's a gripping tale.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dreaming of Spiders

Last night I had a dream that this huge black, ugly spider was climbing the wall in our house and my husband was trying to kill it. I kept saying, "Make sure it doesn't have the red hourglass on its stomach because I don't want you to die." I said this over and over and surprisingly my dream-husband didn't get annoyed with me. So then the spider climbed into its web and I saw the stomach and there was no red so I screamed, "Kill it!" Apparently I didn't want to see the murder of an innocent spider because my dream-mind wandered to new images.

So when I woke up I looked up dream interpretations on the internet, like I often do for fun after bizarre dreams. This is what it said:

"To see a spider climbing up a wall in your dream denotes that your dreams will soon be realized."

Now, does this mean that my dreams of a spider crawling up my wall will soon be realized, or all my hopes and dreams? I totally support the latter. But what about the fact that my husband was trying to kill this spider. Does this mean that my husband is trying to smash my dreams with a shoe? This, of course, is ridiculous, my husband is beyond supportive. So while I enjoy the thought of all my hopes and dreams coming true, the reality is that we have lots of spiders out here in the country. They are annoying. So it probably means that my dreams of spiders crawling up my walls will come true. And it will. I almost got bit by a black widow just the other day. It was scary.

Anyway, again, I have no book to review today. Mostly because I'm in the midst of editing--I got my very first editorial letter last week (yay!)--but also because I'm reading a friend's book (hi, Renee) and it's one you can't buy yet. Which is sad because it's really good. Really, really good. But, if you didn't get a chance to see all the recommendations from last week, check out the comments section from the last post because people had some awesome reading suggestions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tell me your favorite book...

So I've been in a reading slump lately. Normally on Wednesdays I'd tell you about a book I'd read and loved recently. This book usually isn't the only book I've read that week, it's the one I liked the best. I don't review or post about books I don't like. But I haven't been in the reading mood. Sometimes I go through cycles, like this, where nothing I read holds my attention for very long. It's usually not the book's fault. It's just me. (Yes, I just used the 'it's not you, it's me' line) What usually gets me out of these funks is a REALLY good book. So I need some suggestions. What is the best book you've read recently? Or just tell me your all-time favorite because I'm desperate. I want to read.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Alive!

It's official. I am the mother of a teenager. (Cue screaming) This week my daughter turned thirteen. Crazy. I thought by this time I'd be all-knowing so that I'd have really good comebacks to her teenager wit. But I'm not. So give me all your motherly advice for surviving through three teenage daughters because starting now, this is my future. (More screaming)

Happy birthday to my smart, gorgeous (would post a picture but she's way too cute to be showing the world), amazing, sassy, funny daughter! Love you. Go easy on me, kid, I still have three more children to raise.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Ah, twitter. How I both loathe and love you.

I thought I'd share a few things I've learned since starting twitter (dare I say two years ago?). Half of these things I didn't know until more recently, which means I am not very observant or I don't like to read directions. Both are true. You probably know all these because you are both more observant and like to read directions, but I'll share them anyway.

-If you're responding to a tweet, push the 'reply' button right underneath that tweet (it appears when you hover over the tweet). That way the person you're responding to knows what you're responding to. Especially if the response is hours later.

-Also, if you hover over the tweet, did you know a little arrow appears to the right of the tweet? If you click on it, all the responses to that tweet or the conversation that led up to that tweet will appear to the right. So cool.

-If you start a tweet with the @ sign, only that person and anyone following you and that person can see that tweet. Your other followers will not be able to see it unless they decide to go to your profile and spy on you.

-Following someone and then waiting for that person to follow you back and then unfollowing them=mean. It makes baby seals cry. And me. It makes me cry. This is why I signed up for so I can know who you are. Then I yell at your picture (oh, and I unfollow you. So unless you really want to follow a person, don't. Following people just so you can improve your followers/following "ratio" is not cool).

-You can put people you're following into lists and then only view that list if you want. For example, most of the time, I look at my main feed with everyone on it, but sometimes, I want to see what my agency sisters are up to and don't want to have to wade through hours of tweets just to get to theirs. So I have them all in my 'wolfpack' list and when I click on that, I only see their tweets. It's a pretty awesome feature.

-Want to link a person to your blog post, but the link ends up being a hundred characters long and you wanted to include a message with it as well? Did you know you can go to and make your link smaller? You probably knew this. Someone had to tell me this.

Okay, now it's your turn. I want to know more twitter stuff. Tell me something I didn't include on my list that is either twitter etiquette or a feature of twitter that you discovered. Because I probably don't know and I want to.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Reads

Look what I read:

It was awesome.

So I've been waiting all year to read this book. I loved HEIST SOCIETY and couldn't wait to follow Kat and Hale on more adventures. I wasn't disappointed. Such a good, fun, clean read.

Summary from amazon: "Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Duck Who Lived

It's been a while since I've talked about my duck.

Oh, the duck. He is a troublesome little thing. First he causes mayhem with the other ducks in town. Then he leaves for days at a time and comes back, all apologetic, looking for food. But the other night he almost met his end.

I was sitting here, on the far end of the house, late one night, writing (not checking twitter or facebook or goodreads or google+ because I never do that when I should be writing) when I heard a loud noise outside. Now I'm not talking about the noise the ice maker makes in the middle of the night that about scares me to death when everything is quiet and the ice clunks into the container. No, this noise was LOUD and right outside the window behind me. My heart jumped into my throat and I learned that in the 'fight or flight' scenario, I fall firmly in the category of flight. I tore through the house like a crazed zebra being chased by a lion to where my husband was reading in our bedroom.

"Hi," he said.

"Someone is trying to break into our house," I said because I never overreact. "Go save us."

He chuckled a little, because he knows I never overreact and stood up. I followed him through the house, clutching the telephone that I must've grabbed in my crazed zebra state. He got a flashlight and went outside.

"Hello," he called into the night.

"Don't announce you're here," I hissed from the doorway behind him.

Where we live, out in the country, it is dark. No streetlights at all. His flashlight beam cut through the blackness and I held up the phone to show the bad guy that I was armed.

"There's no one out here," he said and that's when our duck, looking very much like a crazed wild animal, flapped out from behind the garbage cans and started running in circles. I saw the dark spot on his white feathers.

"Blood. Something attacked the duck." There was an obvious bite mark in his wing.

We're still not sure what attacked it, but I'm convinced it was a werewolf. My husband thinks it was probably a coyote. We'll see who was right soon enough.

As for the duck, he'll have a little scar on his wing and he's probably acting as a horcrux now for a piece of some werewolf's soul. Other than that, he's perfectly fine (no thanks to my flight response).

Friday, July 29, 2011


This is one of my best friends, Jenn:

This is Germany:

They are getting married and together are going to make beautiful babies:

Jenn is getting published in Germany!!! She sold in auction to Heyne Flieght. I couldn't be happier for her. Her book, INSOMNIA, is amazingly creepy and wonderful. I love it! So go congratulate her on her upcoming production by clicking here. :) Love you, Jenn. Thanks for everything you've done for me. I couldn't have made it this far without you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Sorry I've been absent, but I've been hanging out with these lovely ladies:

(Photos by Michelle Davidson Argyle)
From left to right Michelle, Renee, Candi, Jenn, Me, Sara, Natalie

It was so fun to be surrounded by writers and get to talk "shop" for three days. We also did other things, like this:

And we ate. Boy, did we eat. Michelle and Natalie volunteered to be our chefs and fed us well. The last night we had a campfire and Candi's dad had us in laughing tears as he acted out some stories. (I see where Candi gets her crazy from.) :) Then Renee and my daughter and Natalie's sister had us screaming with some scary stories. It was so much fun.

So now I'm home and refreshed and motivated and ready to write!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Reads

Okay, I changed the title of my post from 'Wednesday Reviews' to 'Wednesday Reads' because let's face it, I don't really review the books, I just say, "Look what I read, it was good." So, true to form, look what I read:

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
It was good!

This book was a weird read for me because I started off reading it to my daughters (ages 7 and 10) but it was taking SO LONG. We rarely got around to it with our busy lives, so it took us like 6 months to read 85 pages. Finally the other night, I was like, BLAST IT ALL (blasted all? blast all?), I'm reading this on my own. And then I read the next 250 pages in two days. So yeah, needless to say, I'm not sure if those first 100 pages were slow or if they just felt slow. But the book was super cute. Perfect for my daughters (now I have to finish reading it to them) and the message was so good. I have the next three books in the series so I better get to work.

back of book summary: "Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isille, Corwn Princess of Kildenree, was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue. She spent the early years of her life listening to her aunt's stories and learning the language of the swans. Then, a colt was born with a word on his tongue--his name, Falada--and when Ani spoke it, she found the key to his language, too. But as Ani's gift grew, so did others' mistrust of it, and soon her mother felt she had no choice but to send her away to be queen of a foreign land. . . "

Next in my TBR pile: "Back When You Were Easier to Love" a book I won in Mary Campbell's contest last month. Thanks Mary!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Measuring Rainfall

Have you ever wondered how scientists accurately measure annual precipitation. Me too! It's what I think to myself on a daily basis. How do they do it?!? How do they know how much rain fell? Well, this year, I found out.....accidentally. You see, we have this possession that holds water very well. It's not exactly *supposed* to hold water. But if one accidentally forgets to, I don't know, take out the plug that normally drains the water in the winter, it becomes a perfect vessel for holding water. Yes, I'm speaking of our boat.

It was a very long, wet winter. So long, that where we normally take our first trip to the lake in May, we didn't even take the cover off the boat until last week. Mid July! A group of college kids from our church asked if we could come to an activity they were doing and take some kids on a few runs. Of course we can, we said.

So as we were getting the boat attached to the truck to service it, my husband said, "That's weird, does the truck bed look extra low to you?"

We both stared at the back of the truck which looked closer to the ground than it ever had. "Yes, that's too low," I said. "Did it break."

We got out a flashlight and looked under the truck bed.

"What's changed?" My husband asked.

That got me thinking. The only thing that could have changed is the weight of the boat. "Do you think some sort of animal crawled in our boat and died?" We do live in the country, after all, so it wouldn't have surprised me.

"That would have to be one heavy animal."

I gasped. "Water."


"Yes. Rain."

"No," my husband said.

"Is the plug in??"

"Yes, but it can't be water."

"Take the cover off."

And we did. And it was water. Lots and lots of water. After screaming, Whyeeeeeeeeee?!? And then crying for 24 hours, we drained the boat and then took it to the mechanic to find out it's chances of survival which we thought were little to none. (If you would've seen the muddy mess that was inside our boat, you would've agreed.) But the man I will now call the Boat Doctor from heaven, said it was fine. He just had to change the belt and the pump. It may have been inappropriate that I gave this man a big hug and a sloppy kiss, but I totally did (just kidding, I didn't, but I wanted to).

After all this though, I can tell you we got 20 inches of precipitation in our yard this winter (or one third of a boat full). I'm sure there are devices that work better for measuring rainfall, but if you don't have one of those on hand, try a boat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Reviews

I'm on Goodreads now. Yay! So if you're on Goodreads too, come be my friend. I need friends. :) I'm still trying to figure it all out, I've only been on for a couple weeks now, but I think I'll get it.

Now onto my Wednesday read. Fire by Kristin Cashore:

blurb: "It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her."

I loved this book. I might have loved it even more than Graceling (the first book in this world). Kristin Cashore does such an amazing job of building a rich, deep world. I do have a question, though, for those who have read these books. They don't feel YA to me at all. More so this one than Graceling. That's not to say I didn't love it, because I did. But what makes a YA book a YA book? Can it be based only on the age of the main character? Personally, I think it needs to be more than just the age of the MC. It needs to have some teen dilemmas: Parent issues, coming of age, feeling out of place, etc. I felt that Fire had very adult issues: child bearing concerns, lack of commitment in relationships, war strategy. That might just be my personal opinion, but what do you think? Let me reiterate, however, that I really did enjoy this book. A lot.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I'm sure this isn't news to any of you, but I felt the need to post it anyway: My dear friend, Natalie Whipple, sold her book!!!!! She actually sold it back in April, but wasn't able to announce until the contract was signed. It takes a while to get your official contract (still haven't gotten mine) the one that has everything in it that both parties agree on. And some agents don't like to announce until the deal is sealed. But it is now official and I couldn't be happier for her.

Natalie was one of the first friends I made when I joined the online writer's community almost three years ago and we've been crit partners ever since. I have never met a more prolific writer than Natalie. She has so many brilliant ideas floating around in her head. And every time she starts her next book, I'm like, I know I said your last book was my favorite, but now this one is. Plus she knows so much about the industry. She's helped me through a lot of low points in this journey. I feel so lucky to call her my friend. And I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Good, supportive friends are a must in this industry full of ups and downs. So if you haven't already, go congratulate Natalie and enter her contest to win a book!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Zombies and Clean Closets

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

I just got back from out of town last night and now I'm off to girls' camp with my daughter today. Wish me luck. Camping with 150 teenage girls is fun, but exhausting. Mainly because of the fact that putting them together like that somehow makes them be able to live on less sleep. I don't know how they do it. Maybe they suck all of the energy out of anyone over 25. That's why by the end of the week all the adults will look like zombies and all the girls will look just as beautiful as ever.

Every time I go out of town my husband thinks he can turn me into an organized person and cleans my closet. I love it. But the only thing it makes me do is realize that I need to go out of town more so that my closet will be cleaned. So if you want to have a clean closet, marry an organized person and tell him you're perfectly fine with his organizational intervention when you are gone. Or I guess you can clean it, but that's not nearly as fun.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Magical Mist

Trip stories continued:

While we were in New York we decided to see Niagra Falls. As you will see by the following story, a combination of several rare events combined to make it a magical experience. It all started when we bought tickets to ride The Maid of the Mist. This is a boat that takes you on a ride to see the famous horseshoe falls from the perspective of the water. The ticket lines were very long, except miraculously the one on the end where no one was standing. We went to the window. "Are you open?" we asked. "Yes," she responded. We bought tickets. Magic number one. (I know, you're blown away.) Next you have to stand in a line that gives you this view:

(See that "mist" that resembles smoke rising above my head to the right?? The boat plunges you right into the heart of that)

Next you must plastic wrap yourself in case the Mist People people decide they'd like an offering (they like their offerings pre-packaged). Yes, these suits make you want to smile funny. (Except my mother in law, who always looks beautiful).

The next magical miracle happened when we became first in line for the next boat. This meant we got to choose where we wanted to stand for our ride into the mist. Of course we chose the front so we could reenact the Kate Winslet/Leonardo DeCaprio scene from Titanic. And look what was waiting for us, etched by delinquents into the metal bow of the boat:
Yes, those are mine (my??) and my husband's initials. So. Romantic.

I just knew this ride was going to be what dreams are made of. The boat started its engines. We drove by the American Falls: beautiful. Then we kept going. "Wow, that's a lot of "mist" up ahead," I told my husband as we crept toward a cloud of whiteness. And then we were inside of it, supposedly to get a better view of the famous falls.

"I should've brought my sunglasses," my husband yelled over the roaring falls. "I can't see a thing."

I, wiping my sunglasses with my wet hands as water drips inside my plastic wrap and down my neck, responded, "I should take off my sunglasses, I can't see a thing."

"How do they film movies here?" he asked.

"Green screen or movie set, I'm guessing."

The guy next to us, interrupting our romantic moment, leaned in and yelled, "I can't see anything."

"It's mist! Very, very wet mist," I answered back.

Guy on the other side, leaned in. "Can you take our picture?"

"I thought we were alone here," I said as my husband snaps a shot of the guy with his family surrounded by smokey mist.

"Do you want a picture," the guy asked back.

"Let's wait until we're out of the mist," my husband said.

I never knew mist was so wet. I always thought of it as a gentle cloud. Except as we exited the boat I noted that no one seemed as wet as us. I'm now waiting for my magical mist powers to present themselves. With that much Niagra Falls on me, I'm sure something good seeped into my system.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Review-Divergent

You should read this book. It is amazing. It's not often I hand off my YA reads to my husband. But when I was finished with this one, I passed it over and told him he should read it. He did (another rarity, he normally reads super boring non-fiction or finance books, to which I say: Bleeeeeeeeck.) and he loved Divergent as well. There were some tiny complaints I had, but they were overshadowed by the things I really liked.

Here's a small summary: "In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--U-Turns are Awesome

If you like to make u-turns, ask me for directions. Or if I am in charge of navigating, ask me a deep question....or a not deep question and you will be making u-turns in no time. Case in point. I met my dear friend, Julie, (for the first time) on this trip.

(Yes, I hung out with a lot of short, beautiful people on my trip. I almost put a pic with just Julie and I, but I thought after the last post, you might want to see how tall I am next to my husband.)

After forcing her to see lots of my church's history sights, we went out to dinner. I was in charge of navigation (which consisted of holding the iPhone and telling her when to turn). But then she started asking me questions and I got to see how good she was at turns out she's very good at them.

A few days later, I was in charge of navigation again. (I know, they didn't learn their lesson). This time we were driving on a toll road in upstate New York. I told my husband to get off at a certain exit (the wrong exit). When we got to the toll booth, we told the man, 'We took the wrong exit.' He pointed to his left and said, 'Just make a u-turn right here' (where it said 'no u-turn' by the way) 'And we'll give you a new ticket.'

Okay, sounded easy enough. So my husband made a u-turn and pulled into the ez-pass lane, but didn't realize it until we were next to the booth with a car behind us. He was forced to go through it and then pulled off onto the side. We proceeded to have a lengthy discussion about what would happen if we went on our way. We (my mother-in-law and I) decided that we'd probably get a ticket mailed to us. We didn't want that. So, we got back in the lane where the nice man had told us to make a u-turn and said, 'Uh....we went in the ez-pass lane.' He rolled his eyes (probably thinking, 'stupid tourists'), laughed, and said, 'Why'd you do that??' 'Because we're stupid,' my husband said. After taking our license plate saying he could clear up the ez-pass issue (but more likely so he could turn it into the 'watch these people because they're probably going to accidentally blow something up' police) he pointed to the left again and said, 'Make a u-turn and pull into this lane, THIS one.'

This time as we made a u-turn, a lady was hanging out the toll booth window and pointing (that is how little trust they had in us that we'd do it right). I wish I had gotten a picture of that. It was hilarious.

So yes, if you like to make u-turns, or need some practice making them, invite me on your next road trip.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Meeting

I'm baaaaaaack! And I have so many posts swirling around in my head as a result of my trip. Most of them have to do with me making a fool of myself so I know you'll appreciate them. :) But, lets start with the most important event: Meeting my agent!!

Isn't she hot?? But she promised me "super shortness" and I was very unimpressed. Granted, she was wearing very awesome heels. So then I forced her to take a picture with my husband so we could revel in some serious height difference. My husband said, "We're not a freak show, Kasie." I said, "Be quiet, freak, and get in that picture."

Then Michelle laughed at me because I cut off part of my husband's head (after he had just finished telling her that people cut off his head in pics a lot because he's so tall). But I excused myself by saying I meant to do it. It's artistry. (I didn't mean to do it.)

But anyway, I had the best time at dinner with Michelle. She is super nice and funny, plus she knows so much about the industry. It was fun to get my brain filled.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Procrastination is fun!

So I'm going out of town tomorrow (for those of you who have been waiting for this opportunity to steal my valuable stash of Junior Mints.....or my big, burly, cranky brother and his wife and children will be staying at my house so you should probably wait for a better time.) and as usual I have left almost everything I need to accomplish until today. Maybe it's just my way of justifying my procrastination, but I really do work best under pressure. So, while I'm mowing the front lawn, finishing up laundry, packing (oh, buying a suitcase first), cleaning the toilets, the kitchen, the shower, the car......think of me. All this so my sister in law doesn't think I'm a huge slob. (It's a lot of work to make yourself look better than you are.)

But it's worth it. I'm off to New York to meet my agent! Wahoo! And since I have several long plane rides over the next week, one of the most important chores of the day is to pick which books I'm going to bring. So here's my TBR pile:

What should I bring my readerly friends??

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Pack Pact

As part of joining Wolfson Literary, there is some very fine print (and by very fine print, I mean non-existent) at the bottom of the contract that states if she sells your book you have to dye a strip of your hair. It's some sort of pact with the Universe made up by some of the oldie members. (Love you, Tawna and Kiersten) I tried to tell them that I had already made a pact with the Universe. I told the Universe that if my book sold, I would drink a chocolate milk shake. Before you roll your eyes, it was going to be a really big one. The potential for brain freeze was at very high levels. It would've been a huge sacrifice. I know what you're thinking. "Wow, she is so brave to even attempt that." I know, right? But alas, my team members weren't having it. I haven't felt this much peer pressure since the downing-15-packs-of-sugar incident at Denny's when I was in High School.

But, because I love my agency sistahs. And because I don't want to anger the Universe. I will be dying a strip of my hair later this afternoon. Stay tuned for a picture.

(This is in parenthesis so nobody can see it. I'm actually super excited about dying my hair. I've always planned to do it and have known since day one the color I would use. I think it's a really fun tradition and I'm happy to be part of it.)


Renee!!! What's up with this "whole-head campaign"?? Are you crazy? But maybe you should start that tradition at your agency. :)

First, let it be noted that I posed in front of my bookcase, because that's what we do.

This is me a little bit mad because it wasn't exactly the color I hoped for. There's a little too much green in this blue.

This is me proving to you that while I was at the mall getting my hair dye, I got a frozen strawberry lemonade. Mmmm, it was so good.

I actually kind of love it.

I'd also like to note that my computer camera does not capture just how bright it is (it also makes things/people look whiter than they are....what? you don't believe me?) Seriously, though, people are going to stare. It's bright. (If you click on the last picture, you can see it a little better.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Make Good Friends

This may be my most helpful Monday post ever. Don't worry, I'll try to shove some nonsense in here somewhere. But my Monday advice to you today is to make good friends. My new blog is the result of one of my very dear friends, Natalie Whipple. Isn't my header pretty?? She drew it. She's talented like that. She's one of those people who hogged all the talents in life and didn't leave any for the rest of us. She can write, draw, cook and has excellent fashion sense. (Plus, she's hot, but I don't know if that qualifies as a talent. It's really just a fact.) So when I was searching the blogosphere for some writers to stalk until they became my friends, you can see why I chose Natalie.

Just kidding, I didn't stalk her.....did I? Hmm, maybe I did.

Which leads me to my second bit of advice relating to this topic. Surround yourself with supportive people who know your goals. Don't keep your writing hidden. The more people you tell, the more likely you are to complete your goals. And you might find out that some other people you know have the same goal. When I first started writing, I kept it to myself. Then one day I told my best friend Candi and much to my surprise, found out she was writing too. Together we formed our first support group. Without those initial "meetings" I might not have had the motivation to continue, especially during the times I really wanted to quit. But by that time, I had told so many people that it made quitting hard. That's a good thing.

So tell people you're writing (including family. My sisters have been the best cheerleaders ever). Surround yourself with other writers who are at the same stage of the journey as you are. Support each other. Share your work with each other and grow in the business together. I've had the same critique group (with one or two more recent additions) for going on three years now. I wouldn't have gotten this far without them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Review-What Happened to Goodbye

So someone said the other day in my comments section: "Your book is paranormal? With your obsession (and by obsession, I think she meant 'appreciation') for Sarah Dessen (okay, she meant obsession. She actually didn't use the word 'obsession' but I sensed that's what she meant.) I just assumed you were a contemporary writer."

It's true, I have a thing for Sarah. And I do love contemporary. I have exactly one half of a contemporary book written. Maybe one day I will finish it. But in the mean time, I will read the queen of contemporary herself, Miss Sarah Dessen. If you write contemporary or want to write contemporary or just love to read contemporary and haven't read her, you are missing out. Even if you don't write contemporary, I think reading contemporary can help us learn how to write rich, deep relationships because nobody does them better than contemporary writers.

Now, I would not be a good obsessed fan if I didn't review Sarah Dessen's newest: What Happened to Goodbye

Book Blurb: "After a scandal involving her mother and a famous college basketball coach rocked her family and her old hometown, McClean decided to live with her dad. His job as a restaurant consultant requires they pick up often, and at each new place she carefully selects who she’ll be—Eliza, Beth, or someone else with a new name and different interests. It’s easier this way for McClean, who is reluctant to form any true attachments. Then at their latest stop, McClean does something she’s not done in a long while—reveal her real name. But who is this McClean and is she ready to forgive her mother, fall for the boy next door, and finally stick around?"

The book was super cute and was definitely a study in amazing characters and relationships. If you are a fan of Sarah Dessen, you will love it. If you have never read anything by her, may I suggest you start with "The Truth About Forever" though. That is my all time favorite. The others all tie for second.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Junior Mint Warning

I am the self-appointed expert on all things Junior Mints. As such, I have a very important bit of advice for you. It is best for the inexperienced Junior Mint eater to avoid them on long car trips. Actually, avoiding them in the car altogether may be best. For even an experienced eater, such as myself, may have the following experience after a long car trip.

While, driving, singing badly to the radio, and attempting to eat Junior Mints at the same time, one or two may have slipped out of my grasp. They're slippery little guys. Thinking they fell between the middle console and the driver's seat, I didn't worry too much about them (I would never go searching for them down there, that is a scary place where probably all missing items in my life, wanted and unwanted, can be found). After arriving at my destination, greeting the people we were visiting, and sitting on their nice couch in their formal living room, a smear of chocolate was discovered across the couch cushion. "What kid has chocolate hands?" the owner of nice couch asked. I just shrugged my shoulders and watched as she cleaned the mess. Ten minutes later someone asks: "Kasie, are those Junior Mints smeared all over your backside?" I knew right away they were. Not because I remembered that I had dropped a few, but because this wasn't the first time this had happened to me.

Hmmm, maybe I'm the only one that needs to avoid eating Junior Mints in the car.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Several of you have asked me what PIVOT POINT is about. I haven't talked about it much on my blog...okay...I haven't talked about it AT ALL on my blog. Call it superstitious. Call it paranoid. But probably the most honest reason is insecurity. In this industry full of rejection, it's easy to start doubting ourselves and our ideas. So I kept this one close. But, since HarperTeen and my lovely editor Sarah Landis think it's pretty great, I thought I could share my query with you.

I loved seeing queries when I was in that stage. So I hope this will help those of you who are querying right now. It will also tell you about my book.

Although I'm tempted to change a few things about it now, I will resist because (aside from the first paragraph) this is the actual query I sent out. Wow. I'm still super nervous. Be kind.

Dear Agent whose name I will spell right,

Here is where I will say something personal about you and why I chose to query you. For example, my amazing agent, Michelle Wolfson, I follow you on twitter and for the last year you have made me laugh while simultaneously informing me how not to catch a mouse and that querying a hundred agents with the same email will save me loads of time. (Because I followed Michelle on twitter, I knew she had a sense of humor and although that's not the exact sentence I used for her in my query, it was something slightly sarcastic.) I am seeking representation for my YA paranormal PIVOT POINT, complete at around 75,000.

When Addison Coleman is faced with a choice, she has the ultimate insurance plan against disaster—the ability to see both outcomes. It may not be as flashy as Telekinesis or Telepathy, but it’s the perfect ability to maintain a suck-free life. Or so she thought. But after her parents ambush her with a divorce announcement and ask her who she wants to live with, she knows either road leads to Anywhere-But-Here.

With her father leaving the paranormal compound to live amongst the masses of underused brains and her mother staying with the gifted in the life she’s always known, both futures seem lacking. It isn’t until she Searches the two possibilities that she realizes how hard the choice really is. And it’s not just because the popular quarterback is interested in her in one life and the troubled artist in the other. When her father, a human lie detector, is assigned as the lead investigator of a murder and her best friend, a mind eraser, becomes involved with a criminal, she learns either path holds the potential for loss. It all comes down to which loss she’s willing to live through.

Reminiscent of the movie “Sliding Doors” the chapters alternate between the two possibilities. The intertwining futures provide the reader with insights the main character can’t see, building tension for when the knowledge of both worlds collide.

I have included (however many pages your website told me to include) below. Thank you for your consideration.

Kasie West

Ah, that brought back memories of the emotional highs and lows of querying. It's a lot of work. Good luck to those in that stage. You can do it. Surround yourself with supportive, helpful friends and never give up.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Interrupt My Brain Eating Post to Announce.....

PIVOT POINT is going to be published! I SOLD MY BOOK!!! Well, I didn't sell it, my agent, Michelle Wolfson, did because she is amazing! I don't have a lot of specifics right now and my head is spinning and my brain (which really feels like it has been eaten) is still wondering if it's true (especially after my agent played a prank on me this morning), but I am so incredibly happy!

The things I do know are: I want to marry HarperTeen, I want to kiss editor Sarah Landis (and just might so she better watch out when we meet), and I get to write a sequel!! Wahoo!!!!!!!!!! I'll have more details in the coming weeks. But I am so happy....have I already said that?

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Obsessed

So, I've gotten more comments/emails/phone calls about my last Monday "Duck Post" than any other post before. Which makes me wonder: What is wrong with you people?!? A duck's life hung in the balance, children were in the process of being scarred for life. What was so funny about that?

Just kidding. I left out the part in my post where I was laughing so hard that my daughter threatened to throw her iTouch at me. So, yes, I'm glad we all found the situation amusing. All that matters is the duck is safe. Right? We don't have to feel bad about our laughter because the duck is safe.

Now, on to today's post.

Welcome to my new obsession:

Like with most things, I'm probably late to the party. But have you played this game yet? It meets all the requirements of a great game: Plotting, Tension, and Zombies trying to eat your brains. (I know, the requirements are pretty specific so you can imagine how excited I was when I found a game that fits them.) It's awesome. You have to find the right plants to plant at the right time and in the right place that will hopefully kill the zombies before they invade your house and eat your brains.

I started playing it yesterday and am ashamed to admit that I ended up playing it for nine million hours or until the battery on my iPhone ran out. My husband kept trying to look over my shoulder, saying, "What are you playing?" "Shhhh," I'd hiss, "I have to kill the zombies." An hour later, "Are you still playing that dumb game?!" This is where I would've backhanded him across the stomach for such blasphemy, but I was too busy killing the disco-dancing zombie.

So, when you are all addicted to this game, I just want you to remember who helped you on your way to being extremely unproductive. Me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ah, Blogger is Back

Welcome back, Blogger. Where have you been? I hope that was a one time only vacation you took yesterday. Twitter has been giving me problems as well lately. This may place entirely too much importance on me and my influence but I believe I broke the Internet with my mind powers.

In other news, Sarah Dessen is going to be in Utah tonight and I am going to be here....not in Utah. Sarah is my author crush. I was up way too late last night reading her newest: What Happened to Goodbye. I haven't finished it, but so far it's everything I hoped for. Sarah never lets me down.......oh, wait, except when her signing tour doesn't include California! Come on, Sarah, why didn't you consult me on this. Maybe my mind powers can get her plane to make a landing here (not because of an emergency or anything but maybe because the pilot has realized that the woman he broke up with the week before is really his true love and he must prove his love by landing his plane on her street and proposing to her) and then Sarah will just have to do a last minute signing. Come on Mind Powers, don't fail me now. *Thinks really hard*

Monday, May 9, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--How to Traumatize Your Children

In honor of mother's day, I thought I would share a motherhood failure story to make you all feel better about your parenting. Or, you can take notes if you're looking for a way to traumatize your children.

Some of you may remember the baby duck that adopted our family. We named him Ding Dong and he lived in our pond.

He grew into a big healthy duck. Look at us, aren't we good duck parents. We raised a healthy duck.

But as the days got hotter, our pond (which is really a rain water drainage ditch) began to dry up and we knew we needed to find a real home for Ding Dong. We noticed at the end of our street some other ducks that looked exactly like ours living in a permanent pond complete with water lilies and grass. The ducks seemed so happy and nice waddling around their pond scavenging for food. So we thought when our pond became too low for our duck to swim in, we would take him down to the corner and ask the owners if our duck could join with the others.

In preparation of this inevitable day we began to mentally ready our children for the separation because they had become rather attached to the duck. So every time we drove by, I'd say things like, "Oh look, there's Ding Dong's family." I said this so much that soon my kids started saying it. My 4 year old son would wave when we drove by and scream, "Hi Ding Dong's brothers and sisters!" It was so cute and heartwarming that I just knew things were going to be fine.

Fast forward to a month later. It was time. Our pond was dry. The duck needed to be moved. We got a box, put the duck inside and drove to the corner. The owners were very nice and agreed to the addition. So we walked, as a family, up to the fence. "Have fun with your new family," I said. My husband threw Ding Dong over. He spread his wings and gently glided to a landing.

Immediately the ducks were on him, tackling him to the ground and pecking his neck. I gasped in surprise, my husband said, "It's okay, let's wait a few minutes, they'll work it out." A few minutes go by, Ding Dong is running, wings flapping around the pond with the other ducks in pursuit. They tackle him again. My son screams, "They're killing him!!" My daughters burst into tears. I look at my husband and start laughing. My daughters tell me to save him. "They'll work it out," my husband keeps saying. We drag our kids, crying, to the car where we look on for a few more minutes, still horrified. Finally, we drive away.

When we get home I look up 'How to introduce a duck to a new flock' on Google.

Short answer: Don't. Or: Take your time, it's very hard and can result in duck murder.

I get back in the car and retrieve my duck. The next day I buy a kiddie pool for the months our pond is dry. We still have a duck.

Every time we drive by the house on the corner my son stares out the window and in a low voice says, "Those are the mean ducks, mommy."

End result: Traumatized children with a life lesson on the pecking order.